Tuesday, January 20, 2009
"I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father" (John 14:12). Jesus had just washed the disciples feet, Judas has left the group for the purpose of betraying Jesus. Peter's denial of Christ had been predicted and Jesus just told them He was going to die. In this context Jesus said "Let not your heart be troubled" (John 14:1a). Needless to say their life situation is about the change radically. God's purposes required that Jesus depart, then send His Holy Spirit to accomplish His purposes through His disciples. "They said therefore to Him, 'What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent" (John 6:28,29). The context of the Book of John and the larger Biblical context show that "greater works" are the work of conversion by God's grace. The purpose of Christ was to die a substitutionary death to bring about God's gracious purposes of salvation, the fulfillment of that purpose through the ministry of the church after Christ's ascension is the greatest work that could possibly be done. Great leaders must empower others to fulfill their mission. Jesus invested time and energy developing leaders. When they were able to properly manage the resources they were given Jesus empowered them to do His work. For our Lord to offer empowerment too early would have set His followers up for failure. On the other hand, the leader who fails to empower capable people creates frustration. Good empowerment will engage followers to use the authority entrusted to them to fulfill the mission. Jesus shows perfect balance concerning both of these concepts. Peter was not ready for leadership before the crucifixion. Peter failed, but he failed forward, it required a failure in Peter's life before he matured in his leadership. So often its not the failure, but how we recover from the failure that matters. We see when Peter started to appropriate from Jesus what He had imparted to his followers he became a powerful and effective leader. Believers has a mission (You shall be witnesses of Me." We are all called by our Lord to do greater (in number) works than He did. How are you doing as a leader in leading others to Christ? Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.